The random musings of a software developer

Ada Lovelace Day 2013

This year I’m choosing to honour Adele Goldberg. Her team developed Smalltalk-80 which is the precursor to all modern Object Oriented Languages, and in particular inspired the syntax for Objective-C. I acquired Digitalk Smalltalk/V for Mac OS back in 1989 and tried to understand how it all worked. I marvelled at the simplicity and uniformity of the language constructs in Smalltalk: everything is an object, even integers, and you make objects do things by sending them messages. One thing which stuck in my mind was that you could make changes to the system objects and the environment would morph to the changes you made. The illustration given was painting yourself in a corner with the changes but in Smalltalk, the paint dried instantly! Fortunately you could save virtual machine snapshots and go back to a previous version. Smalltalk lives on as Squeak – do check that out!

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